December 5, 2016

What’s Your Family Handwashing Policy? Are You Doing It Correctly?


We live by strict handwashing guidelines at Mission Health. That’s because it is the single most important measure in preventing the transmission of infectious agents. Or in layman’s terms, it prevents the spread of germs!

Because it is National Handwashing Awareness Week, perhaps you’d like to implement a handwashing policy at home. It’s simple.

When should you encourage your family to wash up?

  • Before, during and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

How should you get your hands clean?

  • Wet with water (hot or cold, doesn’t matter)
  • Lather up with soap
  • Scrub for at least 15-20 seconds (long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” twice)
  • Rinse with clean water
  • Dry

Mission Health’s Director of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology, Jacie C. Volkman, MPH, CIC, says drying should be done with a disposable towel or a hand dryer. Volkman also says nothing takes the place of soap and water when hands are soiled or visibly grimy. If a hand sanitizer is the only option, Volkman says to use one that is at least 60 percent alcohol.

How to use sanitizer (which does not remove all germs and chemicals)

  • Apply the product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.
  • Do not dry with a towel. Let air dry.

Happy washing!

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